Authors, publisher of textbook booked in Assam for calling Modi-led Gujarat govt 'silent spectator' to post-Godhra riots
The complainants in Assam claimed that the authors and publisher were trying to paint an 'ill image' of Narendra Modi with the book's content on the Gujarat riots.
An FIR has been lodged against the authors and publisher of a political science reference book for Class 12 students in Assam for stating in a chapter that the Narendra Modi-led government in Gujarat in 2002 was a "silent spectator" to the post-Godhra riots.
Publisher Assam Book Depot and authors Durgakanta Sarma, Rafiq Zaman and Manash Pratim Baruah have been charged with promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and race, publishing content that can incite any community and committing a crime in a group with a common intention. They have been charged with these offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, The Indian Express reported.
First published in 2006, the Assamese guide book, Recent Issues and Challenges, has a sub-section named 'Godhra Incident and Anti-Muslim Riot in Gujarat' in the last chapter. A paragraph on page 376 reads: "In this incident (the burning of a coach), 57 persons died including women and children. On the suspicion that Muslims were behind the incident, next day Muslims were mercilessly attacked in different parts of Gujarat. This violence continued for over a month and over a thousand people were killed. Most of those killed were Muslims. Significantly, at the time of the violence, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government was a silent spectator. Moreover, there were allegations that the state administration helped the Hindus."
The complainants in the case alleged that the reference book "is misguiding our upcoming students on our well-known prime minister". "The author along with the publication are intentionally giving wrong communal information and dishonouring the SIT report made under the supervision of the Supreme Court… By this, the authors are trying to draw an ill image of our beloved prime minister of the largest democracy by adding a communal colour," the complaint claimed, according to The Indian Express.
The political science guide book is in its 12th edition of print. It is written in line with the syllabus put together by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). All three authors are well-known political science teachers. Sarma died a few years ago.
"The book is written based on an NCERT textbook and was first published seven years ago," Baruah, one of the authors, was quoted as saying by India Today. "We have not written anything that is not in the public domain. There are several other books, including ones prescribed by the NCERT, that have the same content regarding the Gujarat riots. We fail to understand why they have singled us out."
The complainants are Golaghat-based residents Saumitra Goswami and Manab Jyoti Bora. They filed their complaint through a letter dated 15 September at the Golaghat Police Station, and the FIR was registered the next day. Manabendra Dev Ray, Golaghat Superintendent of Police, told The Indian Express that the case will soon be transferred to the Guwahati Police as the publisher is based in Guwahati's Panbazaar area.
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